Archive for the ‘Spoilers’ Category


Jul 18,2014

Matt’s Inside Line

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With Michael Weatherly having gotten in such good shape this summer for his triathlon, will this be addressed for NCIS‘ DiNozzo? –Joni
The actor’s lean, mean physique apparently will help Tony’s game. Show boss Gary Glasberg tells us he’s in the “formative stages” of crafting a new love interest for Tony, someone that NCIS’ most eligible agent (G Callen excepted) will meet through a case. “It’s time for Tony to continue to grow a little bit,” says Glasberg. “He went through a lot last year emotionally and tried to deal with Ziva’s departure as he could. And it’s time” for someone new. “We’ll be mature about it and handle it properly, and Michael’s excited about it.”



Jul 18,2014

A New Villain, A New Romance, A Trip to New Orleans..

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Big things are coming on NCIS Season 12.

During the NCIS: New Orleans panel discussion at the TCA Summer Press Tour yesterday, executive producers Gary Glasberg, Jeffrey Lieber and Mark Harmon held court and spilled information.

To wit: there are already plans crossover the world of “the mothership” with the upcoming Big Easy-based spinoff.

“We’re currently planning an episode that’s coming out where Gibbs will make an appearance. There will be crossover between the two shows,” Glasberg confirmed. “We have a storyline where Michael Weatherly is involved, where Pauley Perrette is involved, David McCallum. That’s the fun of what we have here is having that interaction.”

Later that day at a CBS party in West Hollywood, I asked Glasberg about specifics regarding new episodes of NCIS. Consider yourself SPOILER WARNED and scroll down for interview excerpts…

TV Fanatic: Where are we finding our gang at the start of the season?

Gary Glasberg: It’s really interesting. Last season was so tumultuous. To have Ziva exit, Bishop arrive, the introduction of the New Orleans episodes and then Ralph Waite’s passing, it was a lot. I couldn’t do a cliffhanger. It was just disrespectful. So I think by doing it the way we did, by sort of resetting over the hiatus and then coming out of the gate with a big story, which is what we’re doing, we’re exciting about it.

It’s really about focusing on the team and the family because I know that the fans really respond to that and then, of course, really peppering it with all kinds of great little tidbits along the way.

The first episode starts in Russia and brings Gibbs and McGee to Russia and then a crisis happens and we’re off and running. It sets up an adversary for them that will track through the whole season.

TVF: So we’ll have a big bad for the whole season?

GG: On and off a big bad!  An actor named Alex Veadov. He’s a lovely man and he plays a Russian mercenary named Sergei Michnev. Very excited about that. He’s a terrific actor and excited about the potential of where he can go and the potential to cross over into the New Orleans show, as well.

TVF: That sounds great. What else is coming?

GG: Episode 3 is a Ducky origins story, which we‘re going to find a young David McCallum and I’m very excited about that. Steve Binder is writing that and we’re going to learn things like why the bow tie and all kinds of stuff. It will be a lot of fun.

TVF: Will it be a light, fun episode? Or will there still be a darker case along with it?

GG: There will be a case that goes along through it, but it brings Ducky and Bishop back to England. So we’re very excited about that.

TVF: Any old faces from the past either villains or other people we haven’t seen in awhile?

GG: We’re talking about different people. We’ll have to see who gets cast and who we ultimately bring in. But everything from trying to cast the elusive, unknown ex-wife, the one we haven’t met. We’ll also keep the Delilah story alive with McGee. And Tony, in episode 4, is going to meet a woman. So we’ll start to layer that in.

TVF: With both shows going, are you going to sleep ever again?

GG: I tend to stay up late so I go to bed around 2 and [exec producer Jeffrey Lieber] gets up around 4 so there’s only about 2 hours of time where we need to hire someone from 2-4 [am].

NCIS Season 12 premieres at 8/7c on Tuesday, September 23, with NCIS: New Orleans debuting immediately afterward.

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Jul 17,2014

‘NCIS’ team crossing over to New Orleans this fall

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CBS has enlisted Mark Harmon and the rest of his NCIS team to help ensure that the military crime drama’s New Orleans-based spin-off completes its ratings mission. Harmon will make another appearance on NCIS: New Orleans, which launches this fall, and this time he’s bringing more of his crew. Harmon’s Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Michael Weatherly’s Anthony “Tony” DiNozzo, Pauley Perrette’s Abigail “Abby” Sciuto, and David McCallum’s Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard will all visit The Big Easy in an unspecified episode. The crossover will partner Harmon with fellow veteran prime-time star Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap), who leads the New Orleans team.

“I’m here to help,” Harmon told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Beverly Hills on Thursday. “I’ve learned a few things in 12 years that I’m happy to pass on – or not.”

There was previously a cross-over between the shows last season during two episodes that served as a backdoor pilot introduction to the new project, where Bakula plays Special Agent Dwayne Pride, the head of the NCIS New Orleans field office.

Bakula acknowledged he had “big shoes to fill” as the star of an NCIS spin-off. “This is kind of potentially a great partnership of a new show … the ball that’s being handed off is a perfect spiral,” he said of the new show, which will receive a lead-in from NCIS on Tuesday nights. “And there’s pressure that comes with that also. No question about it. Everyone’s talking about imagine what it will be like being on the air for 11 years. I said, ‘Hold on. They need to write the show, and then we need to do the show. We have to earn our place. It’s not a given,’ and I’m fortunate to have this great, very rich character that exists, that I can plumb for ideas and experiences.”

NCIS is the longest-running drama series currently on broadcast TV, and is also the most watched — averaging about 19 million viewers. But the veteran drama tends to lack the media attention enjoyed by more buzzy cable dramas. Harmon seemed to suggest that people tend to underestimate how much work goes into keeping the procedural at the top of its game. “We’ve been fortunate on this show that we’re doing,” said Harmon, who is also an executive producer on the series. “It looks really easy to do. It’s really hard to do, and [executive producer Jeffrey Lieber is] finding that out right now … we take great pride in what we try to put forward, and we hope that that same footprint rests onto this [new] show.”

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May 28,2014

Matt’s Inside Line: Meeting Mrs. Gibbs No. 2?

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Are there going to be any life-changing events for any of Gibbs’ team members during Season 12 of NCIS? –Marsha
I don’t know if the storyline surrounding this reveal will be “life-changing” per se, but show boss Gary Glasberg tells me he still is on track to put a face to the long-MIA Mrs. Gibbs No. 2 during Season 12 — as well as unveil another never-seen spouse. “I look forward to introducing [Gibbs' second ex-wife], and I look forward to meeting Bishop’s husband,” he shares. And along those lines, “We’re already playing with some ideas that I think are going to be fun for people.”

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May 13,2014

‘NCIS’ EP opens up about season finale tribute to Ralph Waite: ‘We lost someone we truly cared about.’ — GUEST COLUMN

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TV icon Ralph Waite, best known for his portrayal of stalwart father figure John Walton on The Waltons, passed away in February at the age of 85. At the time of his passing, Waite was also a recurring cast member on CBS’s NCIS, where he played father to Mark Harmon’s Jackson Gibbs. Below, NCIS executive producer Gary Glasberg opens up about crafting a proper send-off for the character in an EW Guest Column.

By: Gary Glasberg

It started with a phone call. Mark Harmon received a call that his co-worker and friend, Ralph Waite, had passed away. The news hadn’t broken yet. Mark came upstairs to see me in my office. We sat down and reflected on Ralph’s extraordinary career. From Cool Hand Luke to The Waltons, Ralph Waite defined and earned the title “character actor.” We considered adding a simple In Memoriam card to the end of the next episode that was about to air. It didn’t feel like enough of a gesture. We contemplated re-running “Better Angels,” his last wonderful storyline with us. It felt redundant. Ralph deserved more. He would have wanted us to stretch, to push the story envelope, to leave people feeling the loss of Jackson Gibbs, not just reflecting on it.

There’s no doubt season eleven has been a season of surprises; Ziva’s departure, Bishop’s arrival, the launch of NCIS: New Orleans. The writers and producers of NCIS talked extensively and decided it might be time for a change. We didn’t need to do another cliffhanger. We didn’t need to leave the audience guessing who might survive a bomb blast or a political kidnapping. We had something very real happen to us off-screen. We lost someone we truly cared about. And now it was time to let Leroy Jethro Gibbs say goodbye to his father, too.

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I knew instantly who would help me write this emotional farewell. It had to be Gina Monreal. She and Ralph connected on “Better Angels.” He got a kick out of her and vice versa. Not to mention, he truly respected Gina’s talent on the page. Tony Wharmby was already set to direct the episode so that basically reassembled the team. We started talking about how best to handle Jackson’s death. As always, we knew we had to come up with a parallel crime story (it’s what we do), but the drive of “Honor Thy Father” would undoubtedly be Gibbs mourning the loss of his dad. This needed to be a finale with real emotional resonance. A finale with heart and soul and warmth and pathos. And, of course, a few classic NCIS twists and turns along the way for good measure.

Every character has their moment to say goodbye. Tremendous thought went into the funeral scene. We knew we wanted to see some of Jackson’s old WWII buddies paying their respects. We knew we had to get Billy Dee Williams who plays Jackson’s buddy L.J. to help us, as well. We knew we wanted Jackson to have a military funeral. It needed to be a fitting goodbye for a decorated veteran. From day one, Gina knew the music she wanted over the final montage. It had to be Warren Zevon’s “Keep Me In Your Heart.” I’m a huge Warren Zevon fan. I wasn’t about to argue that. Trust me, you’ll needs the tissue box. It’s not easy to get through the funeral sequence without tearing up a little.

Is there some NCIS suspense? Of course. Do we get some classic Abby, McGee, and Tony? Absolutely. But this season finale is about Gibbs. We get to see a personal side of him few have witnessed. We get to feel his pain and his anguish and his sadness. And we get to see his pride. The pride Gibbs had in his father, regardless of their differences.

Oh — and do stick around to see the very end of the show. You might get a glimpse of what Gibbs will be building in the basement in season twelve.

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May 13,2014

NCIS Boss: Season Finale Is a “Touching” Tribute to Ralph Waite

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Though NCIS season finales are known for being action-packed cliff-hangers, the final episode of Season 11 may have fans reaching for tissues rather than sitting on the edge of their seats. The episode will pay tribute to actor Ralph Waite, who died unexpectedly in February.

“Everyone involved really wanted to do this,” creator Gary Glasberg tells TVGuide.com. “We wanted to do this properly and say goodbye to a character that we all really enjoyed writing over the years, and goodbye to an actor that meant a lot to us. … This was such a significant event for us, both on-screen and off, that we wanted to handle it properly and do it well, and let people mourn the passing of Gibbs’ dad with him.”

in the finale, titled “Honor Thy Father,” Gibbs (Mark Harmon) returns to his childhood home after learning that his father Jackson (Waite) has passed away. In addition to paying homage to Waite, the plot will reveal a few things about Gibbs as well.

“It’s a really touching, emotional look back and looking forward at Gibbs and the loss of his father,” Glasberg explained. “[Fans will get] more insight into what makes Gibbs who he is, some stuff from his childhood and morally, just who he is.”

The episode will also explore more of Jackson Gibbs’ past through flashbacks, with Rob Norton playing a young version of Jackson.

At the same time, Gibbs’ help is needed with the crime of the week, when the crew investigates a fire on a Navy ship that may have been set intentionally to allow terrorists who were being detained on the ship to escape. “He clearly has his mind elsewhere,” Glasberg notes.

With the show undergoing so many changes this year (as well as Glasberg getting ready to launch the spin-off NCIS: New Orleans, which CBS recently ordered to series), producers wanted a finale that would bring the season full circle. And once producers learned of Waite’s sudden passing, any doubts they had were laid to rest.

“We wanted to do a finale that was a little different this season,” Glasberg explained. “It’s no secret that Season 11 had all kinds of challenges that came up — Ziva’s departure, Bishop’s arrival, and then we did the New Orleans episodes. A lot has happened, and we wanted to not necessarily do another cliff-hanger, but do something that informed our characters and brought our family and our team together. … I really wanted to just sort of solidify the team again. And this was such a significant moment for Gibbs as a character that, emotionally, I wanted to focus on that and then leave for the season knowing that this group stands together.”

The NCIS season finale airs Tuesday at 8/7c on CBS. Catch up on recent episodes here, and check out a clip from the finale below.

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May 05,2014

NCIS’ Michael Weatherly Previews a ‘Favorite Episode,’ Shares Plan to ‘Raise the Bar’ for Tony

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This Tuesday at 8/7c, in the penultimate episode of NCIS Season 11, Special Agent Tony DiNozzo is tasked with escorting an admiral’s beautiful daughter from Marseilles, France to the States — a bit of “babysitting” that will not come without (deadly) complications. On the occasion of DiNozzo’s French connection, TVLine invited original cast member Michael Weatherly to survey his alter ego’s latest exploits, reveal how the late Ralph Waite helped him reconnect with his own father and promise viewers “enormous” changes for Tony come Season 12.

TVLINE | It sounds like Tony is going to France this week… by way of Universal Studios.
The key thing about France-in-Hollywood, especially when it comes to our show, is that it’s always the backlot. And sometimes there’s a damsel in distress, and what that often means is that you need to send “the best of the best.” You need to send America’s very own James Bond, Tony DiNozzo. OK, basically it’s a babysitting job – a retrieval job – but the actress that I got to work with for those wonderful days is one of the most talented actors I have worked with in my whole career. Meg Steedle (Boardwalk Empire) is absolutely a joy, and a perfect fit for the specific brand of light comedy that I prefer to traffic in. Meg and I got to have all kinds of fun, in a Charade-style, “Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn on the run” sort of way. It was a very funny and light, with some nice twists. It’s my favorite episode in a long time, one where I actually got to do some other things. I think the audience will really like it.

TVLINE | [NCIS boss] Gary Glasberg keeps calling this a “Three Days of the Condor-type episode,” and that was a Robert Redford movie about a CIA researcher who comes back from lunch to find all of his colleagues murdered. Connect the dots – where is the similarity?
Well, there’s one scene, and I won’t spoil it for everybody, that it is eerily reminiscent of that film. And then there’s another scene where Tony references the movie and says, “It’s like Three Days of the Condor — except I’m Faye Dunaway.”

TVLINE | How is it, as an actor, when you’re off on your own like this, apart from the other principals, for an episode?
Well you know, it does happen from time to time, with The DiNozzo. The last time was going out to Israel to track down the lovely Ziva. And over the years there’ve been a couple other instances… like when I was handcuffed to Frank Whaley for the whole episode. But I always enjoy going out on a bit of a walkabout. And then it’s always nice to come back to the big orange room and see all my friends again.

TVLINE | In “The Admiral’s Daughter,” is Tony in action hero mode? Is there some derring-do?
I would say there is a degree of it. Maybe not as much as I would have liked, but at this point [in the season], also, I am tired. So it was nice to not have to run, and jump, and do too much of that. But this summer, actually, I am going to start training to do a triathlon in the fall. So maybe there’ll be a more physical DiNozzo in Season 12!

TVLINE | Tell me a bit about the May 13 season finale, which in large part pays tribute to the late Ralph Waite and his character, Jackson Gibbs. It sounds pretty damn emotional.
We were out at a cemetery and Ralph Waite’s cast chair was put out under a tree, and I think it gave everyone a moment to reflect on Ralph. And not just reflect on his wonderful contribution to our home at NCIS, but to his remarkable career and life. I had some great personal talks with Ralph over the years that I treasure. He will be missed and I’m very honored to be part of this show and this group of people that would make such a nice send-off, to a guy who really deserves it.

TVLINE | I come from a very large family, and my father happened to look a bit like Ralph Waite, so I of course grew up watching The Waltons. This guy was a part of my childhood.
He had a great sense of fun and he was a very determined, professional performer. And never ever did I get the sense that he wasn’t one hundred percent connected to the material and thrilled to be working. We had a series of episodes this winter — we shot the Robert Wagner episode, we had done a Ralph Waite episode, and then I was working with Keith Carradine, who in that episode turns out to have a son that he was unaware of – and after Ralph passed, I immediately went to the airport, got on a plane and flew down to Jamaica to see my dad, because I hadn’t seen him in nine months or so. Working on television, it’s very difficult to see family. Unless they live in Southern California, which mine does not, it’s pretty isolating. So, it was kind of as if Ralph gave me a nice moment with my own father.

TVLINE | Within the episode, what role do Tony and the others play in Gibbs’ grieving process?
Of course, this being NCIS, it’s tricky because there is a case — and Vance doesn’t want Gibbs, in his current state, to be dealing with the case. So, he puts DiNozzo in charge, and you know how that always ends up. That lasts about one act. [Laughs] Always a bridesmaid, Tony DiNozzo. Will he ever be the bride? I don’t know.

TVLINE | I understand that this season you’ve really been enjoying the stuff with Sean Murray, with DiNozzo/McGee.
Sean and just had lunch and watched [last week's] episode, which I think is one of the great episodes of our season. [Director] Dennis Smith did a terrific job. Again, he always just makes these great, great shows. It’s fun and light, but also deep and moving and impactful. It’s what NCIS does best, that balance of making you feel good and warming your heart but also making you laugh out loud, hopefully a couple of times.

TVLINE | And did I read that while shooting the April 22 episode, you yourself actually gave the cleanse a try?
It lasted about six hours. I thought that would be funny. That was not funny. So yeah, no. Cleansing is not a great idea. For anybody.

TVLINE | Well, speaking of funny…. Do you still feel like people are laughing with Tony and not at him, which is a perception-slash-concern shared by a few fans out there?
I think it’s a very tricky balance for a lot of reasons. But I think that Tony, this season, has been without his foil in the way of Ziva David (played by Cote de Pablo). In some ways, that’s been good for him because he didn’t have that crutch, that go-to. He kind of had to figure some stuff out. And listen, sometimes Tony’s a hot mess! I love him, but I think the guy probably has in the last season spent a few too many days feeling sorry for himself, sitting on the couch, eating Doritos and watching reruns of It Takes a Thief – during which he probably keeps saying to himself, “Wow, Robert Wagner looks just like my father.” But what Gary Glasberg and I were discussing the other day is that the end of this season for Tony was maybe a bit of a putting to bed some of those clownish quirks, the ones that are over the top. And I think that for the most part, they have disappeared. But sometimes, like when you have to get McGee ready to be undercover as a homeless person, you go a little a little crazy with “the cat pee odor.” Sometimes Tony is not supposed to be likeable all the way. Sometimes he’s not supposed to be the hero. Because, look, if Tony could do all of the stuff — if he was balanced and quick and thinking on his feet, and great with a gun — then what’s he doing? It’s like the guy should be out running around doing his own thing.

TVLINE | Right, right.
So, I think he’s always limited by the guarantee of the sort of team dynamic. And I do see that changing. I have looked ahead … and I’m really excited to put Tony into the next phase of his being. I’m ready for whatever that is as an actor. As a character, this was the year where he kind of “met himself,” and I think we’re going to see big changes for him next fall. Enormous changes, I would think.

TVLINE | Let’s talk about this season’s new addition to the team, Ellie Bishop (played by Emily Wickersham). Was it kind of a relief for you to read that this new character was married? Was a part of you like, “Whew, I’m not going to have to pull off that whole angsty, ‘Will they, won’t they’ thing all over again?”
I don’t think, actually, that it really matters if she’s married or not, in the world of the stories that we tell. And I don’t know how happily married she can possibly be, she’s always with us! I would say one of the weirdest things about the whole season is that nobody seems to have noticed that she’s attractive. And I don’t mean Tony, I mean nobody. I think they were between a rock and a hard place bringing her in, because they didn’t want her to be romantic in any way with anyone, yet they hired a beautiful woman. I think the producers and writers and actors, we’ve all been working to figure out, “How does the Bishop character work best?”

TVLINE | I know you keep in touch with Cote. Did you give her any “playful guff” last summer when the rest of you were left to field all these questions about what was going on?
Gosh, no. I had a great conversation with Cotes before she went off to do The 33, the miner movie. And I’m looking forward to seeing her in the next few days, now that we’re wrapped and I actually have my life back. I’m going on a nice, long walk with her and catching up. Cote is an artist and is a really talented actor, and I am excited to see what her journey has been like. It’s hard when you’re in production. I mean, can barely make time to talk to Matt Mitovich, let alone somebody who is five time zones away.

TVLINE | You talked about your hopes for Season 12, for Tony and the “next phase of his being.” Would you like to see him eventually have another serious love interest, or would you rather leave people to believe that he’s carrying a torch and waiting for Ziva? What do you think serves the character the best?
I believe that he has put Ziva in a drawer. The difficult part for him is that he said, “Come with me” and she said, “I can’t do that.” He was rebuffed, he was rejected, and the sting of that has been there for him all season. I don’t know how other people, including the viewers, see it, but that’s just how I processed it. And it was bittersweet because as Sting would say, “If you love someone, set them free.” Maybe Sting didn’t coin that, but he certainly put it to music. Tony had to let her go to follow her dream and her passion — and that didn’t include him. That’s a bitter pill to swallow, but he knows that she’s following her dream. And that couldn’t make him happier, right?

TVLINE | Right.
So, I think now what’s happening is Tony has to figure out, “Hey what’s my dream?” For DiNozzo, this is the next iteration of his thinking, which I think he’s coming around to. It’s interesting that Season 11 ends the way it does, because it reminds me of some other seasons on other shows that I’ve been on, where you’re like, “I think I see a change coming….” Again, to me, what’s really important is that the show has a classic, standard operating procedure. But sometimes you’re not recording Exile on Main Street anymore, you’re making Tattoo You. That is the evolution of everything. I’m very excited to see what we do next. The nice thing is that I think we can move forward and really come out of the box with some surprises in Season 12. And look, I love being surprised more than anybody, so I’m going to do my best, and I know everyone else is going to do their best. I think the season ends on an incredibly high note. Honoring Ralph, the fun little capers in the south of France, [last week's] episode about the homeless vets…. Those are a great three episodes of “classic NCIS.” And my promise to you is that we will make some excellent NCIS in Season 12. That’s my promise to everyone, that I’m going to raise the bar.

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